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December 22, 2016
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August 9, 2011
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Publication Date: 
September 25, 1974
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Approved For Release 2011/08/09: CIA-RDP09TOO207RO01000020037-3 C1U ISTIa, 25SEP1974 ,Chile: Legacy of the Allende years No Peaceful Way: Chile's Struggle for Dignity, by Gary MacEoln. New York: Sheed and Ward. $8.95. Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Chile, edited by Paul M. Sweezy and Harry Magdoff. New York: Monthly Review Press. $7.50. By James Nelson Goodsell Verdicts on Salvador Allende Gos- sens' three year of Marxist-leaning -rule in Chile are coming in. Like the government itself when it was in power (1970-1973), opinions are di- vided. But the authors of "No Peaceful Way" and "Revolution and Counter- Revolution In Chile" leave no doubt that they consider Allende's over- throw as 'a tragedy. The thwarted hopes of the. workers and peasants will make it extremely difficult for the present military leaders to gov- ern, they believe. In fact, Mir. MacEoin, from his long experience with both Latin America and his native Ireland, worries that Chile might become "another North- ern Ireland." MacEoln's book, with its wise schol- arship, able marshaling of facts, and clear writing, is easily the better book. It chronicles the years of Al- lende rule and his efforts to nudge Chile toward socialism, providing a solid look at his successes and failures (there were plenty of both), and the obstacles he encountered. Chile was a heady place under Allende. "As a politician pursuing unconventional objectives by con- ventional means, he had few peers," MacEoin writes. - "Even when his overwhelmingly powerful enemies in Congress aban- doned the role of a loyal opposition, without which representational de- mocracy cannot function, and when the judiciary dropped its mask of objectivity to become an integral part with Congress of the openly disloyal opposition, he refused consistently to play by their rules." There are readers who may quarrel with this view, but MacEoln docu- ments the evidence and makes a fairly strong case. Some of his most telling analysis concerns what hap- pened immediately before the mili- tary coup upset Allende's con- stitutional government just a year ago. Role-of the CIA In some prescient passages, he takes a hard look at the United States' role in the ouster. Writing before the Central: Intelligence Agency's at- tempts. to,"destabilize" the Allende government were disclosed this month, MacEoln documents the agency's penetration of Chilean politi- cal parties, its support of anti-Allende demonstrations, and its financing of opposition newspapers. It is a grim tale. The Sweezy-Magdoff book is a com- pilation of articles which have ap- peared in Monthly Review and other publications. All have a partisan Marxist tone and should be read with this in mind: But precisely because of their bias they have some value. In the opening essay, Mr. Sweezy analyzes Allende's overthrow, ar- guing that "The Chilean tragedy confirms what should have been, and to many was, obvious all along, that there is no such thing as a peaceful road to socialism." Editor Sweezy contends that Al- lende's Unidad Popular (UP) govern- ment - which was composed of the President's own Socialists, the Com- munists, and other left-leaning par- ties - made a series of mistakes once it had achieved power. Toward socialism For instance, he says that the UP should have followed up the success- ful municipal elections by wresting "complete control of the state appa- ratus from the bourgeoisie" which was then in disarray. Failure to attempt at least to consolidate its power was, in Mr. Sweezy's opiniori the fatal error of the Allende govern- ment. Both the MacEoin and the Sweezy- Magdoff books suggest some of the forces which will be at work in Chile during the years ahead. Mr. MacEoin is correct in observing that "the meaning of UP's attempt to lead Chile toward socialism by constitutional methods must be sought less in the president than in the social move- ments on which he depended and within which he had to maneuver. "As a corollary, his death did not alter radically the fundamental equa- tions. The circumstances in which it occurred will undoubtedly-influence future strategy, but the forces through which he worked are the same today as yesterday." The Allende years in Chile are ended, but not the desire of millions of Chileans for some of the things Al- lende seemed to promise them. In a sense, the forces he unleashed are as real today as when he headed the government. James Goodsell is the Monitor's correspondent in Latin America. 00678 Approved For Release 2011/08/09: CIA-RDP09TOO207RO01000020037-3